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How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians?

Abstract

Vegetarians are at risk for vitamin B(12) (B12) deficiency due to suboptimal intake. The goal of the present literature review was to assess the rate of B12 depletion and deficiency among vegetarians and vegans. Using a PubMed search to identify relevant publications, 18 articles were found that reported B12 deficiency rates from studies that identified deficiency by measuring methylmalonic acid, holo-transcobalamin II, or both. The deficiency rates reported for specific populations were as follows: 62% among pregnant women, between 25% and almost 86% among children, 21-41% among adolescents, and 11-90% among the elderly. Higher rates of deficiency were reported among vegans compared with vegetarians and among individuals who had adhered to a vegetarian diet since birth compared with those who had adopted such a diet later in life. The main finding of this review is that vegetarians develop B12 depletion or deficiency regardless of demographic characteristics, place of residency, age, or type of vegetarian diet. Vegetarians should thus take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Nutrition Science, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA. pawlakr@ecu.edu

    , , ,

    Source

    Nutrition reviews 71:2 2013 Feb pg 110-7

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adult
    Diet, Vegetarian
    Female
    Folic Acid
    Humans
    Nutritional Requirements
    Pregnancy
    Prevalence
    Vitamin B 12
    Vitamin B 12 Deficiency
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    23356638

    Citation

    Pawlak, Roman, et al. "How Prevalent Is Vitamin B(12) Deficiency Among Vegetarians?" Nutrition Reviews, vol. 71, no. 2, 2013, pp. 110-7.
    Pawlak R, Parrott SJ, Raj S, et al. How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? Nutr Rev. 2013;71(2):110-7.
    Pawlak, R., Parrott, S. J., Raj, S., Cullum-Dugan, D., & Lucus, D. (2013). How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? Nutrition Reviews, 71(2), pp. 110-7. doi:10.1111/nure.12001.
    Pawlak R, et al. How Prevalent Is Vitamin B(12) Deficiency Among Vegetarians. Nutr Rev. 2013;71(2):110-7. PubMed PMID: 23356638.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? AU - Pawlak,Roman, AU - Parrott,Scott James, AU - Raj,Sudha, AU - Cullum-Dugan,Diana, AU - Lucus,Debbie, Y1 - 2013/01/02/ PY - 2013/1/30/entrez PY - 2013/1/30/pubmed PY - 2013/4/12/medline SP - 110 EP - 7 JF - Nutrition reviews JO - Nutr. Rev. VL - 71 IS - 2 N2 - Vegetarians are at risk for vitamin B(12) (B12) deficiency due to suboptimal intake. The goal of the present literature review was to assess the rate of B12 depletion and deficiency among vegetarians and vegans. Using a PubMed search to identify relevant publications, 18 articles were found that reported B12 deficiency rates from studies that identified deficiency by measuring methylmalonic acid, holo-transcobalamin II, or both. The deficiency rates reported for specific populations were as follows: 62% among pregnant women, between 25% and almost 86% among children, 21-41% among adolescents, and 11-90% among the elderly. Higher rates of deficiency were reported among vegans compared with vegetarians and among individuals who had adhered to a vegetarian diet since birth compared with those who had adopted such a diet later in life. The main finding of this review is that vegetarians develop B12 depletion or deficiency regardless of demographic characteristics, place of residency, age, or type of vegetarian diet. Vegetarians should thus take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12. SN - 1753-4887 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23356638/full_citation L2 - https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-lookup/doi/10.1111/nure.12001 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -